Columbia Crest Grand Estates, Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2008, 13.5% abv, C$20

After California, the US state that produces the most wine is Washington. The Columbia Valley AVA lies mostly in Washington State, but a portion of it overlaps into Oregon. At its northern most end, it extends almost into BC’s Okanagan Valley. It lies in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains between 46 and 46 degrees meaning it is positioned at the same latitude as Bordeaux and Burgundy.

It’s semi-arid though and receives little rainfall, so irrigation occurs but there are hot summer temperatures winemakers can take advantage of to ripen some challenging varietals.  As a result, the area is renowned for Merlot, Chardonnay and even age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon.

This is an inexpensive version of Cab Sav from a very large, commercial producer.

Clear with a ruby core moving to a wide pink rim with noticeable legs, this wine has medium intense aromas of black plum, blackberry, clove and vanilla. The alcohol is a little intense.

Dry with average acidity, medium tannins and average body, it shows medium plus intense flavours of blackberry, blueberry, ripe damson plum, vanilla and baking spice.  Over the course of the evening, it opened up to some deeper blackcurrant along with savoury mushroom and forest notes. There is the tiniest hint of greeness – a little bit of green bell pepper – nicely integrated.  The finish is solid.

An inexpensive wine – this is a good find.  WSET Good, drink now, but don’t age any longer.



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I love wine...and finally decided to do something about it.
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